Fun Facts: Chinese Hardstone Carvings

11/11/2022     General

Chinese Carved Jade Pendant


The carving of jade and other treasured hardstone materials such as soapstone, rock crystal and lapis lazuli is one of that China’s oldest art forms, dating back to the Neolithic Age. Over the course of millennia, the artistry and carving techniques perfected by Chinese lapidaries endured through numerous dynastic changes. Trade routes brought massive imports of precious stones to China’s capital cities where imperial and literati tastes had an enormous influence on the style and quality of Chinese hardstone carvings.

Scholar-Officials and aristocrats typically kept collections of jades and other hardstones in their residences to represent their status and good fortune. Many such carvings reference the blessing of prosperity and convey wishes of continued fortune. A nephrite jade pendant in Hayloft's November sale exemplifies this kind of symbolism. The pendant depicts a young boy surrounded by three dragons. The child symbolizes contentment and good fortune, while the three auspicious dragons signify strength and achievement.

Hardstone carvings remain an important traditional artform in Chinese culture. Chinese collectors and others worldwide actively maintain a dynamic and healthy market for jade and other hardstone carvings – from Chinese prehistory through to the 21st century.

View Asian works of art and more in Hayloft’s November auction. Explore the catalog and place your bids before the sale closes on Sunday, November 13.